The 10 Best Wood Routers

Sara Mandeed
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Wood routers are versatile and can be used to make a number of different cuts. Before shopping for wood routers, it’s good to have a general idea of what kind of cuts you’re planning to make. Knowing which type of router will make the task easier…

If you’re looking for small routing jobs that would be suited for a hand held router, for making small grooves, perhaps to receive a dowel or a similar small, delicate cut, you’re better off shopping for a small portable router for small, delicate cuts.

If you’re looking for a router to work on larger projects in your shop, you’ll want to invest in a larger router with a larger table. Whichever wood router you choose, always check the weight specifications to see how easy it will be to move around on large projects.

If you’re looking for a router to use for decorative cuts, like those often used in the jewelry trade, you’ll find a wider range of options available to you, and it’s best to look at the minimum center height and maximum router depth as well as the motor, because the router you choose for decorative work will need a router bit with a large diameter so that you can make dramatic cuts.

NameCategoryProduct
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router KitBest OverallMakita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Bosch Router ToolBudget PickBosch Router Tool
Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ ImperialUpgrade PickFestool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial

1. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit

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Pros:

  • Can be used at home and also at the professional job site
  • 1-1/4HP motor delivers plenty of power for a variety of tasks
  • Variable speed provides maximum control
  • Quickly remove bits and accessories with the dedicated grip
  • Includes a pair of chisels, shoe, wrench, collet, depth gauge, dust cover, and router table saddle.

Cons:

  • RT0701CX7 is heavy and can be unwieldy
  • Instruction manual is confusing
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Dust sealing is a problem

The Makita router RT0701CX7 compact router is one of the best wood routers from the company that is a sleek and lightweight design and includes such safety features as auto-locking collets and a soft-start feature to make it easier to operate than other models.

It has a 1-1/4 horsepower motor with 2,800 rpm and a maximum speed of 27,500 rpm. The variable speed provides maximum control. The router is ideal for use in woodworking and metalworking jobs. This router comes with a pair of chisels, a shoe, a wrench, a collet, a depth gauge, a dust cover, and a router table saddle.

The router weighs in at 8.1 pounds and has a diameter of 1-11/16 inches and a height of 10.

2. DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

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Pros:

  • Full 2-year limited warranty
  • Multi-position precision collet
  • SmartSense technology automatically adjusts speeds as per the workpiece material
  • Comes with an LED light
  • Sturdy aluminum front handle
  • Easy and smooth plunge operations
  • Runs quietly

This kit from Dewalt includes an assortment of three hand-held routers, which includes two variable speed models and one fixed edge router. The variable speed models have a soft start mechanism which reduces the start-up torque allowing you to control the router bit for delicate operations.

This kit also comes with the unique 360-degree LED light that illuminates your work area extending your reach. The Dewalt’s unique sensor design of the router automatically adjusts speeds as per the type of material you’re working with.

The fixed edge router has various features including a motor spin-up indicator, a dual clamping system, a motor that has thermal overload protection ensuring continuous operation, and a spindle lock. The other two routers have features such as an anti-slip soft grip handles which allow for comfortable hand positioning while working.

3. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

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Pros:

  • Comes with a plunge router and a fixed base router
  • 16-amp motor with two-speed setting
  • Reinforced, collet-style grip provides stability and accuracy

Cons:

  • The base is not sturdy enough
  • The settings take time
  • The router is too top-heavy

The best wood router on the market right now is the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit. It’s well-built with sturdy parts and smooth operation, which allows you to perform fine detailing. It has two-speed settings but the motor is a little loud for a woodworking tool.

The Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit is a powerful, versatile router kit. It’s equipped with a collet-style grip that’s secured by a vise and enables easier routing. This also prevents the tool from slipping. On the other hand, the plus point of the tool is the dust collector and the adjustable base. Although you can buy both of these items separately, they’re a much better value when purchased as a combo kit. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit is the best router for the money.

4. DEWALT Router

Our rating: 9 / 10

DEWALT Router

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5. DEWALT Router

Our rating: 8 / 10

DEWALT Router

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Pros:

  • 3,500 RPM for cutting faster
  • Rubberized base for better grip
  • 6.25 amp for ease of use
  • Consistent speed throughout
  • Cord-locking system
  • Comes with both guide and template base
  • Motor and power base can be detached
  • 2-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • No variable speed control
  • Heavy, at approximately 6.5 lbs
  • Motor tends to get very hot, resulting in frequent use limitations
  • May not be ideal for lighter jobs
  • Hand cannot effectively grip due to rubber base

This fixed-base router from Dewalt is one of the best wood routers available on the market today. It offers a variety of features that make it stand beyond the rest, including the fact that it is dual-voltage, so you can use it both outdoors and indoors. It has a relatively high cutting speed, so cutting is faster when using it.

It has a 6.25-amp motor, which is more powerful than other routers and provides a better performance. It can be used for a variety of jobs, including woodworking, metalworking, and general construction. It also includes both a template and a guide base, so you can change it depending on what you’re cutting.

6. Bosch Router Tool

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bosch Router Tool

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Pros:

  • Powerful motor for excellent reliability
  • Easy to use variable speed settings
  • Supports multiple accessories
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Nice display for easy viewing
  • Works well for different projects
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Very noisy
  • Produces heavy dust
  • Several user complaints about motor failing under light usage (but they like the model and company) (buy)

We like this particular palm router because it comes with an excellent motor which runs quietly on variable speed. It can easily handle small and big projects such as furniture assembly, construction, trim, molding, cutting and other repair jobs.

It provides different speed settings that make it possible for you to adjust its speed according to the size, type, and material of the project. The variable speed on the router makes it possible to handle different speeds from getting a rough job, stripping and adjustments.

The motor is well-designed to support easy handling and control. The automatic collet release can easily lock and release your chisel without engaging a lever. The spindle lock features allow you to adjust the router bit easily without having to remove the wrench. Its supporting handles make it easy to hold and use on different jobs on different materials.

7. Bosch 12V Max EC Brushless Palm Edge Router

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bosch 12V Max EC Brushless Palm Edge Router

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Pros:

  • Easy to control
  • Plenty of power
  • Works well for woodworking hobbyists & DIYers
  • Comes with an edge guide that prevents wobbling
  • Compact and lightweight
  • 12V battery with longer shelf life

Cons:

  • No low battery indicator
  • Screws appear somewhat fragile
  • Plastic components can be fragile in the palm router
  • This model’s attachments will not fit any other routers

We’re big fans of this palm router from Bosch. This little wonder is an improvement of their earlier model with a few tweaks that make a big difference for the finish of your piece. The motor is on the top of the router for easier control and more control over the direction of weight. It has a visible rubberized grip that is angled so that you never lose any control of your device. There is also a soft guard that helps reduce vibrations.

Even though this is a palm router, it has a variety of bits that you can use for different kinds of projects. It has an impressively powerful motor for such a small device. There is a variable speed option if you want even more control over the bit that you are using.

8. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

Our rating: 8 / 10

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

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Pros:

  • Ergonomic design for comfortable handling
  • Sturdy and well-constructed
  • Quick change spring system
  • Speeds up to 24,000 RPM
  • Heavy duty power switch
  • Includes a dust collection port
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • One year warranty

In a nutshell, the Triton TRA001 is an incredible router and has the ability to handle any woodworking project you’re planning to take on. The Triton uses an ergonomic design to make it easier for you to use during your woodworking projects.

This router boasts 25 one-tool woodworking projects that are included with the purchase of the machine. These will help to get you started in woodworking and give you some useful ideas to work on. This router is versatile and can be used in a number of different applications.

The lightweight ergonomic design makes this router easier to handle during your project. Despite the light weight, the Triton is sturdy and well-constructed. It measures approximately 15.2 x 5.2 x 11.8 inches and weighs about 7.25 pounds.

9. Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial

Our rating: 8 / 10

Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-handle working height
  • Powerful vacuum system
  • Precise and smooth plunge and adjustments
  • Great build
  • Attractive ergonomic design
  • Consistent performance
  • Good balance
  • Integrated dust extraction system

The Festool Router has an easy-to-handle working height of between 0 and 2.5 inches. While this model is German-engineered, it conveniently uses a U.S. electrical system. This model is powerful enough to handle any material you throw its way, and the plunge action is smooth and precise.

Also, this unit’s ergonomic design is attractive, you will find it easy to handle for extended periods of time. The parts are robust, and the industrial-grade wood router is well-built; it has an excellent weight balance and is easy to control.

In addition, the router is Easy-Fix for reliable changes and adjustments. Moreover, the unit’s built-in vacuum system has two vacuum setting: low and high. The low setting is good for hardwoods while the high setting can handle chip-prone woods.

10. PORTER-CABLE Router

Our rating: 7 / 10

PORTER-CABLE Router

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Pros:

  • Works well for both wood and metal
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Accepts standard bits as well as P-C brand base and pin router accessories
  • Easy to adjust and operate
  • Lightweight and fits comfortably in the hand
  • Cheap for a tool at this level

Cons:

  • Only moderately powerful
  • Somewhat noisy
  • Not as powerful as a Dremel
  • Plastic face cover where the hold-down screw is held
  • No rotating light

If you’re looking for a powerful router that’s not too expensive, you won’t find a better one than this one from Porter-Cable, which is why we’ve included our top pick for the best wood routers of 2020. This router has a powerful motor that can create up to 11,000 RPM to handle even the toughest applications. The router is also easy to operate, with only two controls to choose from. You have a speed control and a lock on/off switch for quick operations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best wood routers?

In our view, the router isn't a tool that you can go cheap on. It's an important piece of machinery that's more than just a multipurpose adhesive dispenser.

There is no reason to buy an entry-level, substandard unit either. The good news is that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a German machine to get one that's both high-quality and fully featured. The bad news is that there are a lot of options out there. Choosing the best wood router for you is an important decision, especially when you factor in your budget and how vigorously you'll be using it.

Performance is going to be important, and that's where the big differentiators come into play. So, before we talk about our 10 best wood routers, there are a few key features you should be looking for.

Wood Router Speed & Performance:

What is the best woodworking router on the market?

While there are many models to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the options to five of the best for your consideration.

When at the store, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want to cut?
  • What types of projects are you planning?
  • Are you looking for a hobby router or a professional one?

What type of router do you want? (fixed base, plunge, etc.)

While there’s no one best wood router on the market, we’ve narrowed down the best options in the following chart.

What is the best router for a beginner?

Is it a fixed base or plunge base?

Both fixed base and plunge bases have something to offer, but I think your budget would be a good indicator on whether or not you should start with a fixed base or plunge base. Lower-end models from some brands only come in fixed base, while the more expensive models are available with both bases.

Fixed-base routers are ideal if your primary use of a router is going to be in your table-mounted router table and for making small cuts.

A plunge base is really great if you plan on making your own jigs and making larger profiles.

What are the different types of wood routers?

In terms of the body of a wood router, there are typically 3 different types: there are the old-style ones that are fixed-base, meaning that the router is secured to the table and the bit moves; there are plunge-base ones where the router is fixed, but the bit moves in and out; and then there are ones with both bases, a fixed base and a plunge base.

The majority of wood routers available are either fixed or plunge-based due to the relative ease of use. It is possible to buy routers with both bases, but these are typically more expensive. As for the bits, most woodworkers find that high-speed steel bits are efficient and fine for most woodwork.

Conclusion

A wood router can make a huge difference when it comes to your woodworking projects; it’s often one of the other tools that people don’t own until they realize how awesome it is. You’ll have to look at some different elements when it comes time to make your final decision, and we’re here to help you out with that.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router KitBest OverallMakita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Bosch Router ToolBudget PickBosch Router Tool
Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ ImperialUpgrade PickFestool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial